There is no bad time for a good white wine, especially if it’s one of the best bottles available.
There’s been some miseducation. For a while, the masses were told that wines like Verdejo and Chardonnay were the stuff of hot summer afternoons in the park — there to refresh and do little more. But a lot of good white wine boasts just as much complexity if not more than most red wines. And I say that knowing full well the kind of prestige and following iconic reds like Barbaresco, Chianti, and Bordeaux have.
What that all means is that you should be enjoying white wine year round, whether it’s a bracing Albariño, a silky Pinot Blanc, or an herbaceous and full-bodied Kerner. The best wines of the world include stunning sparkling, riveting reds, dazzling pinks, and a wide world of whites.
While we’re talking white wine, let’s put a few things to bed for good. Yes, it’s actually great in the winter, especially when you play off seasonal eats like various seafoods, roasted root vegetables, and more. No, it doesn’t have to be chilled to death. In fact, over-cooling a white often strips it of its character (I tend to rarely chill anything outside of bubbles). And when you do things in the cellar like slow fermentations and aging on the lees and in barrel, the resulting white wine can have a mesmerizing amount of depth and intrigue.
This indigenous Sicilian white made from the Grillo grape exudes strength and energy. It has that kissed-by-the-ocean element that so many southern Italian wines have, at a fraction of the price. Try it and see why somms and winos are so drawn to wines from this corner of the world.
Finding a refined and truly dialed-in California Chardonnay isn’t quite as easy as it used to be these days but some of the old guard are still up to some tasty old tricks. This wine bursts with brioche, zest, and fresh flowers while staying buttoned up with class and cellar potential.
This fantastic take on Albariño sizzles with neon-bright fruit flavors, rippling acidity, and a cleanliness on the palate that’s mostly unmated within the varietal. You’ll love its pizazz, which runs at full throttle from when the cork pops to the very last sip.
By now, most in the northwest have heard the name Kelley Fox but her wines are worthy of national, if not international attention. Case in point: Her exceptional Pinot Blanc, which is as elegant, layered, and lasting as any of the best white Burgundies out there. It’s made with care and sources from Freedom Hill Vineyard, one of the better Willamette Valley sites.
You should probably be drinking more Sauvignon Blanc. It’s a nimble wine, great with all kinds of grub.
Made in a corner of France that made Sauvignon Blanc famous, this wine remains a standard bearer. There’s great Sauv Blanc in the states and New Zealand and beyond but it’s hard not to just want to return to the limestone soils of the eastern Loire Valley, where the grape really, really sings.
Practically a temple for New World Riesling, Oregon’s Brooks Winery makes several dozen every year. The Ara tends to top the esteemed list year in and year out, a small-batch effort that shows beautiful tropical fruit and melon rind notes. Fans of dry Riesling of Alsace quality should settle in to this great label.
Another splendid option within the Chard category, and very much one of the new movement. Which is to say, the opposite of over-oaked and flabby. It has tension, crispness, and beautiful flavors abound.
We drink a lot of Pinot Grigio but we should be drinking better Pinot Grigio. A safe bet is to go to the north of Italy in Alto Adige. This delightful white shows classic pear and citrus elements with a medium body and great overall balance.
A riveting white Rhone blend from the Yarra Valley of Australia, this wine emphasizes what can be done with a mindful blend. It is ever so round, with the ideal mix of richness and brightness.
This Columbia Valley gem shows all the great traits of Viognier, the southern French grape known for its peach-y goodness and hefty build. You’ll want to dive deep into this wine, preferably in a large glass so you can take it all in (and pair with fried chicken, trust me).
This is a memorable Chenin Blanc from the Santa Ynez Valley. It’s packed full of tropical fruit, tingling acidity, and hints of dried flowers and baking spices. It gives and gives, so give it a swirl or three or even decant it for a spell to really witness the personality at play.
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